St Mary the Virgin Gamlingay: From the past, for the future - repair, restore, revive.
In 2018 we were all shocked by the theft of lead from the roof of St Mary’s Church in Gamlingay. Additionally, an inspection of the building revealed the need for other significant urgent repair work. The purpose of this newsletter is to update villagers on progress with the project to repair, restore and revive the church building.
A project team has been established to oversee the work needed to repair the damage, restore the medieval fabric to its former glory and at the same time make changes to the interior to make the building more accessible to all.
The project was launched in April 2019 with a well-attended exhibition held in the Eco-hub. We intend to apply for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The Parochial Church Council has appointed Nicholas Warns Architects Ltd to advise on the project and the bid process is now underway. An application covering a development phase (Autumn through Spring 2019/20) and a delivery phase (Summer 2020-Summer 2022) has to be completed by mid-August for submission to the Autumn meeting. A decision is expected by November. The bulk of the works will be completed in 2020 but some aspects and the ongoing activities support will run into 2021/22. The project involves:
Repairs inside and out of the building fabric. Following major drainage works five years ago, the internal fabric has dried out and it is time to repair the plasterwork. The urgent works include roof repairs to make the church weathertight, work to broken and vulnerable windows and structural masonry, essential to protect the valuable medieval fabric within.
Restoration of the lead taken from the roof and the damage to masonry resulting from the theft. The roof is to be repaired with lead but an alarm will be installed together with anti-theft devices to discourage potential damage. Photovoltaic panels will be installed together with state of the art battery storage so the energy produced during daytime can be used by the church users at other times.
Revival of the community use of the building which will be achieved by addressing the access difficulties which limit use of the church. The North Porch will be welcoming and fully accessible to all. Toilets and simple catering facilities will enable us to deliver a wider range of activities including concerts, exhibitions and village events, as well as improving the experience of worship for present and future worshippers. Some of the Victorian pews will be removed to improve versatility of the space. Improved lighting, sound and visual systems will promote the unique internal heritage and enable more use of the building.
The plan overleaf shows the church interior showing the proposed changes to the layout including step-free access, removal of some of the pews to create a more flexible space, the addition of a serving area and the installation of two toilets.
One of the requirements of the HLF is to establish Activities that promote the heritage of the building and attract a wider audience. With our architect we will champion heritage skills and crafts to enthuse and train the next generation of heritage artisans and craftspeople; activities will include hard-hat tours, talks from our architect, events and workshops. Alongside this we will deliver an annual programme of music and cultural events. If our bid is successful we will receive funding to support these activities.
Can you help?
We are very grateful to everyone who has offered support with this project. If you can help in any way we would be extremely grateful. This is a project for the whole community.
We would also welcome feedback on any aspect of the project proposals. Please get in touch by contacting the project group:
Rev Hilary Young [email protected] 01767 650587
Chris Smith [email protected] 07712 078597
Alec Hissett [email protected]
Andrew Smith [email protected]